Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Will 'Leaves of Grass' just blow smoke? Nope.

If you've been following along, you know Edward Norton is pulling double duty on "Leaves of Grass." The comedy recently wrapped production in Shreveport.

Norton plays two roles: Brady, the Oklahoma-based pot-grower, and his twin Bill, an Ivy League professor. Plot-wise, Bill is unknowingly drawn into Brady's scheme to bring down a local drug lord. Given these polar opposite characterizations, the conflict between Bill and Brady will likely explore the tension between chaos and control, of order and disorder.

Here's what director-writer-actor Tim Blake Nelson had to say about it: "I’m very interested in our beautiful, quintessentially human and ultimately vain attempts to control our own lives. And I wanted to write a character who was attempting to do that and succeeding pretty thoroughly, who then got railroaded."

In other words, when "Leaves of Grass" gets released in 2009, don't dismiss it as just another stoner comedy. At its nutty core, "Leaves of Grass" will be much smarter and more introspective than that.

Nelson said he created the twin characters to explore a collision of disparate philosophies. "Even though I suppose I’m an atheist, I kind of buy into the Judaic notion that we really need laws and structure, and without them there is a pretty intolerable measure of anarchy from within and without. And I think that the narrative that has been told over and over again by storytellers, and that I’m certainly borrowing for this script, is that collision of chaos and violence and improvisation, if you will, with the structured life."

From what little I know, I'm willing to bet "Leaves of Grass" will serve as a good companion piece to the Coen brothers' "The Big Lebowski." Remember the Dude? How could you not. While battling the Nihilists and struggling to keep his "chonson," he was, on a basic level, defending his right to a slackerly state of being (and seeking to punish the rug-peers). In "Leaves of Grass," the characters similarly appear to be battling, in Norton's words, the forces of entropy (while pursuing the ideal of growing the perfect bud).

This is all to say that "Leaves of Grass," if made rightly, could achieve cult status. Nelson and Norton are playing with some really cool ideas in a ridiculously fun way, and I hope the movie lives up to its potential.

Am I out of my gourd?

PHOTO: Writer/director/co-star Tim Blake Nelson on the set of “Leaves of Grass.” (Photo by Glen Wilson/Special to The Times)

Monday, November 24, 2008

Has Edward Norton been cloned?

If he did right by his recent job in Shreveport, it will appear so.

There are three must-reads currently making rounds on the world's widest web.

1) I interviewed Edward Norton and Tim Blake Nelson on the set of "Leaves of Grass." Pretty fun story, if I do judge so myself. In the comedy, Norton will play twin brothers. He just finished the challenge of acting in scenes with himself. (Think "Adaptation" on roids.) Here's a Norton quote -- about making the interactions looks believable -- that didn't make the final story: "To me the trick was to, (in) Shakespeare’s words, hold the mirror up to nature and (create) something that looked like it was extemporaneous and sloppy instead of clearly choreographed."

2) Hollywood Reporter profiled Louisiana. Yet again, there's more discussion of tax credits: "'People have been successful in getting their money back from the state in a timely manner,' says Joseph D. Chianese, vp business development for Entertainment Partners, a leading provider of payroll and production management services. 'And because of the sheer volume of productions that have been going into the state, it has been able to develop a local crew base, which is important when you're bringing a production somewhere.'"

3) Kevin Costner and Modern West got profiled on CMT.com. Remember that concert at Municipal Auditorium? Apparently, making "The Guardian" and "Mr. Brooks" in Shreveport left an impression on him: "One of the most powerful songs on the album is '5 Minutes From America,' written in Shreveport while filming 'The Guardian' shortly after Hurricane Katrina had devastated the coastal areas of Louisiana and Mississippi. It's the story of a man desperately escaping the hurricane with two children when his car breaks down and his cell phone goes dead. 'There was probably 20 or 25 people on the film crew that had lost stuff,' [Costner] said."

PHOTO: Actor Edward Norton stars in a dual role as Bill Kincaid (right) and Brady Kincaid (left) in the upcoming film "Leaves of Grass." The project, due out in 2009, recently wrapped filming in Shreveport. (Glen Wilson/Special to The Times)

Three cheers for 'The Pink Angels'

"Don't miss 'The Pink Angels.' Hard riders wearing a size 10 dress."

That tag-line pretty much sums up Friday night. The Robinson Film Center's Chris Jay deserves big credit for putting together a super-entertaining Friday Night Freak-Out! monthly series. If you missed it, RFC screened Ed Wood's "Plan 9 from Outer Space."

It was my first Freak-Out, and I loved every stinking minute of it. "Plan 9" can lay legitimate claim to being the worst movie in cinema history, and seeing that dog in a theater was priceless.

The crowd barked at the screen, mocked the awful dialogue and thoroughly misbehaved for 90 minutes. Now that's a Friday night.

What most entertained was the package of B-movie trailers that reeled before the feature. My favorite, without question, was the one for "The Pink Angels." Watch the above.

Favorite line: "How would you like 10 pounds of dangling fury?"

I wish I could write like that (and not be fired).

Friday, November 21, 2008

Pimp your ride

Because I know LaMovBlog readers drive the finest in auto transportation, I'm posting this:

The Lifetime MOV "Acceptance" needs the following for a Tuesday (Nov. 25) shoot: Mercedes, BMW, Lexus, Range Rover, Hummer and other nice rides. Every color welcome except white, black, gray or Gremlin.

Pay: $58/8 hrs.

Contact: (318) 603-4560 and kate@gloriosocasting.com.

PHOTO: I'm pretty certain your 1974 AMC Gremlin will not qualify. (Bob DuHamel/Wikipedia)

Thursday, November 20, 2008

You can take Josh Brolin out of Shreveport, but can you ... ?

MTV just logged an interview with "W." star Josh Brolin. (Thanks for the tip, Mr. Youknowwhoyouare.) Remember all of that stuff about an arrest, or a bar fight, or something? Vague remembrance. Here's an excerpt:

MTV: Would that bar fight and arrest in Shreveport be considered a low point in the year?

Brolin: No. That was just pathetic. Nothing went on. I keep saying that, but people go, "It was Brolin. Something went on." But nothing went on. They're really out to get me right now. They need to figure out what the f--- they want to do. There's this contrasting thing [in Shreveport] of a tax incentive where they welcome all these movie people, and then on the other hand, they have a police force that says, "We don't care for strangers in our town." My feeling is, everybody should let Shreveport be Shreveport, and let's film someplace else.

Robinson Film Center shows utter crap (on purpose)

Allow the film center's Chris Jay to describe "Plan 9 from Outer Space," the next feature in the monthly series called Friday Night Freak-Out!: "It's on 35 mm film! The print is beat to hell! This is going to be so much fun!"

Ed Wood's oft-maligned classic is always described as the worst film ever made. Even worse than "Casablanca," "Vertigo" and "Citizen Kane," I'd say, but you should judge for yourself.

The mess even features a "bomb made out of the sun." Didn't Danny Boyle riff on that idea recently?

Jay even promises bad movie trailers where you can see "the strings on the backs of monster outfits."

Just go see this turkey before yours gets too stuffed.

WHAT: "Plan 9 from Outer Space."
WHEN: 10 p.m. Friday (Nov. 21).
WHERE: Robinson Film Center, 617 Texas St., Shreveport.
BYOVB: bring your own vomit bag.

Solaranites unite?!

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Stallone to direct Statham and Li in The Shreve

Sylvester Stallone will star in and direct “The Expendables” for Nu Image/Millennium Films.

(I think I've finally found my body double project.)

The project should begin filming in February, confirmed Diego Martinez, president of Nu Image/Millennium’s Studio Operations.

(You have no idea how excited I am.)

“The Expendables” will split time between Shreveport and a foreign country, possibly Costa Rica. The bulk should be filmed here.

(You can film it at my townhouse if you want. I have satellite. And a spacious patio.)

The action movie, written by Stallone, follows a group of mercenaries hired to overthrow a dictator. Stallone will be joined on screen by stars Jason Statham and Jet Li.

(Fair warning, Jason and Jet: When I get my ass kicked, I get it kicked. And I'm a bleeder.)

PHOTO: Hollywood actor Sylvester Stallone poses for a photo during a press conference in Tokyo to promote "Rocky Balboa." (I believe he was thinking about kicking my ass.) (AP Photo/Vincent Thian, File)

Monday, November 17, 2008

LSUS to offer visual effects, animation workshop

On Nov. 22, LSUS's Animation and Visual Effect's program will offer an introductory workshop. It will be led by the program's director, John Miralles. For anybody flirting with the idea of working in these fields, this is a great opportunity to gauge opportunities from someone with tons of experience.

WHEN: 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Nov. 22.
WHERE: LSUS Technology Center 258.
COST: $39, general public; $29, LSUS students; $10, high school students.
TO REGISTER: students should register in person at the Continuing Ed office in the Tech Center. All others should click here.
MORE INFO: AVEI@lsus.edu.

From the press release: "This workshop is intended to introduce a student with little or no prior exposure to the field of entertainment computer graphics. Topics to be covered will include basic digital imaging, using Adobe Photoshop, basic video compositing using HD footage and Adobe AfterEffects. An introduction to 3D Computer generated images will also be demonstrated. Students will work with Macintosh computers and industry software.

"By the end of the workshop, students will have created their first visual effects shot, and have a greater understanding of the exciting fields!"

Friday, November 14, 2008

Don't be a punk. Go see the Wizard.

"The Wizard of Oz" plays this weekend at the Robinson Film Center, big-screen style. If I can conquer my lung dragon -- my nostrils produce more mucus than a Cronenberg plot -- I'll be there. (Given what you know now, would you rather I stay home?)

It's 35 mm, y'all. Just go.

Show times
3 p.m. and 7:25 p.m. Saturday (Nov. 15)
2 p.m. Sunday (Nov. 16)

And for fun
At 9:45 p.m. Saturday, RFC will screen the "Dark Side of the Rainbow" program, where the soundtrack of "Wizard of Oz" is replaced by Pink Floyd's "Dark Side of the Moon." Sounds fun.

PHOTO: File/The Times.

Jabari Thomas at work on 'God vs. Science'

Local filmmaker Jabari Thomas is at work on a Christian-themed project, "God vs. Science." It was recently shot at LSU-Shreveport and stars Ted Ferguson, Chris Weaver and Amber Dawn Landrum. Check out the trailer above.

Monday, November 10, 2008

'Soul Men' comes in 6th

Shreveport is still lookin' for a hit. The R-rated comedy "Soul Men" earned just $5.6 million at the box office, which put it out of the top five.

1. "Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa," $63.5 M
2. "Role Models," $19.3 M
3. "High School Musical 3: Senior Year," 9.3 M
4. "Changeling," $7.3 M
5. "Zack and Miri Make a Porno," $6.5 M
6. "Soul Men," $5.6 M

"The Guardian" (2006) remains atop The Shreve's domestic box office receipts with $55 M.

Friday, November 07, 2008

'Soul Men' opens in theaters today

Got your "Soul Men" tickets? The movie, shot largely in The Shreve, opens today in theaters. I logged a nice interview with director Malcolm D. Lee last week, and he had some nice things to say about Bernie Mac.

Hope you enjoy the flick. Lemme know what you think. Reviews are mixed but some of the major pubs had some good things to say about it. Check out the following clip. Very funny stuff. (Not for kiddies.)

PHOTOS: Doug Hyun/Dimension Films.

What’s cookin’ in Louisiana

Here is the latest update from the state office:

Welcome to (225) 342-FILM, the official hotline of Louisiana Entertainment. Here's what's happening for the first week of November:


The Lifetime movie of the week "Acceptance" is in pre-production in Shreveport with shooting scheduled from November 23rd through December 17. Resumes are being accepted by fax at (318) 682-5671. No headshots, please!

The independent feature film "Skateland" is shooting in Shreveport through December 3. Inquiries are being accepted by e-mail at skatelandproductions@gmail.com.

The Millennium feature film "Leaves of Grass" starring Edward Norton, Susan Sarandon and Tim Blake Nelson is in Shreveport through Nov. 13. Inquiries are being accepted by e-mail at Leavesproductions@gmail.com
(This show wrapped last evening. AGK)


The Films in Motion feature film "Burning Palms" is shooting in Baton Rouge through November 26. Resumes and inquiries are currently being accepted by e-mail at info@filmsinmotion.com.


The Marquis Productions feature film "Fight or Flight" is in pre-production in Lafayette with shooting scheduled from December 1 through December 20. Resumes for cast and crew are being accepted by e-mail at marquisprods@gmail.com.

The Bullet Films feature film "House of Bones" is shooting in Lafayette through late November. Resumes and inquiries are currently being accepted by fax at (337) 706-8971. For casting, please e-mail casting@bulletfilms.net.


The independent feature film "My Own Love Song" starring Renee Zellweger and Forest Whitaker is shooting in New Orleans and in central Louisiana through December 13. Inquiries are being accepted by e-mail at myownlovesong08@gmail.com.

The Scott Free Productions feature film "Welcome to the Rileys" starring James Gandolfini and Kristen Stewart is shooting in Jefferson Parish through November 11. Inquiries are being accepted by e-mail at welcometotherileys@mac.com. For casting information, please visit www.couloncasting.com.

The Faulkner McLain Entertainment feature film "Alabama Moon" starring John Goodman is shooting in Covington through December 16. Resumes and inquiries are currently being accepted by email at info@faulknerproductions.com. For casting information, please visit www.couloncasting.com

The Mandalay Lifetime Network television movie of the week based on the Nora Roberts book "Midnight Bayou" is shooting in Jefferson Parish through November 13. The production is currently crewed up.

The Mandalay Lifetime Network television movie of the week based on the Nora Roberts book "Tribute" is in pre-production in Jefferson Parish with shooting scheduled from November 20 through December 16. The production is currently crewed up.

The Horizon Entertainment football documentary television series is shooting in New Orleans with production scheduled into December. Resumes and inquiries are being accepted by e-mail at info@horizonent.tv.

The HBO television series "Treme" will begin shooting in New Orleans in the first quarter of 2009. Resumes for CREW ONLY are being accepted by fax at (410) 986-0029.

And for more information about the film and television industry in Louisiana please visit us online at www.louisianaentertainment.gov and at www.lafilm.org

Monday, November 03, 2008

Shreveport meet-up to feature local f/x man

The Shreve’s monthly meeting will feature John Miralles, director of LSUS’s animation and visual effects program. Miralles has a pretty impressive track record as an effects compositor, working on projects like “Nim’s Island,” “Madagascar,” “Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix,” “Rescue Me” and “Balls of Fury.” At the meeting, he’ll talk about his career and the new program at LSUS. (The LSUS program is going to produce a short animated film so this may be a way to gain a bit more info about it.)

WHAT: Shreveport Meet-Up featuring John Miralles.
WHEN: 7 p.m. Nov. 11.
WHERE: Robinson Film Center, 617 Texas St., Shreveport.
COST: free.

Jerry Katz to teach two-day class

UPDATE: Price was lowered.

Acting coach Jerry Katz will teach a two-day acting course called "The Power of the Actor" Nov. 8 and Nov. 9 in Shreveport, likely at the Actors Café (1401 Fairfield Ave.). You can learn more by clicking here. Cost is $175 and sessions should last about 4 to 6 hours each day.

For more information, contact Vanessa Cloke at (504) 292-6254 or katzactingjoint@yahoo.com.

Katz also aims to teach classes on the North Shore Jan. 17-18 and in New Orleans Jan. 24-25.

La. FIG (La. Film Industry Guide) now online

The La. Film Industry Guide, which will be in its second edition in January, is now online. The following link might help to production folks looking to survey the local climate.

I have a printed guide and it's been useful.

Check it out here: www.louisianafilmindustryguide.com

Questions, contact Pam Edwards at (318) 965-6688 or pam@louisianafilmindustryguide.com.

Jeffrey Goodman discusses 'Last Lullaby' at AFI Dallas

The interview was back in March, but it's worth sharing as director Jeffrey Goodman continues to take his film to festivals. The Shreveport-made crime drama "The Last Lullaby" will be in St. Louis Nov. 15, Kuala Lumpur between Nov. 26-29, and the Bahamas between Dec. 4-11.

Director Jeffrey Goodman brings "Last Lullaby" to AFI Dallas 08 from AFI DALLAS on Vimeo.